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Melville Electronic Library - a critical archive


Our Young MelvilleBiography room will feature digital images of family documents and photographs, Itinerary map projects, and displays drawing upon MEL’s scholarly editions of Melville’s journals, letters, and the Melville family correspondence.

  • Family Documents. A Coterie of Writers: In 1845, Melville’s older brother Gansevoort made penciled corrections to Melville's working draft of Typee. Family documents in NYPL’s Gansevoort-Lansing Collection also show that Gansevoort edited, even revised, his younger sister Augusta’s high school compositions and that he probably revised Herman’s school work as well. Gansevoort’s editing is most evident in his revisions to Augusta’s 1836 end-of-term essay. See the Juxta collation of Augusta’s original and Gansevoort’s revised version.

  • Itinerary Projects. 
    MEL uses Hofstra DRC’s mapping / timeline / annotation tool Itinerary to create projects that visualize Melville’s travel and “geographical imagination.”  One project in development—“Melville in London”—will include links to Melville’s journals.  Another titled “Melville in New York” will accommodate such “big database” projects as NYU’s New York Scapes.  For a prototype of MEL’s Itinerary projects, see “Melville in Rome.”  

  • Journals.
    Melville kept journals of his trips to England and Europe (1849-1850), Europe and the Middle East (1856-1857), and San Francisco (1860).  MEL will edit these documents (located at Houghton) and use their texts in Itinerary projects.

    Journal entry of Melville's trip to England and Europe

  • Correspondence.
    Once edited, the texts of NYPL’s collection of Melville letters and family correspondence will be available for a display that situates Melville’s well-known letters to literary figures (such as Hawthorne and Duyckinck) within the network of the heretofore unedited correspondence of his parents, siblings, and relations.